Guest Post: Gull Lake, Saskatchewan!

Recently Alyssa visited the little town of Gull Lake out on the prairie in Canada and wrote in to share her adventure. Her story appears below:

Gull Lake, Saskatchewan: a place worth returning to!

A deep red depot greets you from the highway, to which the town owes my visit. Out of commission though it be for receiving train passengers, it attracted one would-be tourist who was ready to be tugged off-course. Furthermore, a sign resembling that of a Romanian town hall advertised the building by it as the headquarters of a Mounted Police division. This delighted me,  inclining my expectation upward as I advanced toward the town’s interior,  via Rutland Avenue’s hill. I had just stopped for a rest and a stretch of the legs, hoping to find somewhere to sit and write and organize a strategy for free time spent at home. Instead, I found a dream revived: of traveling to different obscure places to participate in life there and to literally appreciate it in writing. It could be how I discover where I’d really choose to live, after all.

Gull Lake

I entered the grocery/pharmacy and asked if they had a restroom.”Not one that you can use,” replied the high school girl at the checkout, and directed me next door to Michael’s. A hole-in-the wall type of corrugated sheet metaled warehouse-looking fortress. I would have missed this “convenience” store if not directed to it. This is why I’d needed to get out of the car to notice anything which existed to give economical support to this place ripe with conspicuously inscrutable buildings.

Gull Lake

I loved it. It is the kind of place I’ve always had a soft spot for in my heart.

On the corner of Main Street and Proton Ave. there was a whole Chester’s fried chicken diner that was closed.I can only assume that the Asian who alone roamed the store, and who inquired if he could help me, was Michael.

I went there for the public restroom, in which a public health promotion company had placed two machines vending condoms for $1.25 and vending sex toys. There was no soap in the soap dispenser. When I threw my paper towel in the garbage can it bounced onto the floor because the short recepticle was overfilled. Oh, well!

I couldn’t do much because it was Victoria Day weekend. Otherwise, I’d have eaten at the diner and skated at the Rainbow roller rink. I suppose i could have stayed to watch Breakthrough at the theater, but my time budget did not allow for another hour and a half stay this time.

The Lyceum Theatre had one movie every four days, and only one showing time: 8:30pm.

The Decades Diner was, at first, the only place to eat. It’s between two welding shops across a street and an alleyway on either side. These both have modest signage–one of them gone or going out of business, as it was for sale. Neither the sign for the shop nor the sale were quite prominently placed, but faced the alleyway behind the diner.

You may not see in my account of this place why I was enchanted by it, but I certainly was. For much of my life have I wished I could move to a strange place like this and discover what I could add to a community, what treasures of culture in it to make more known? The International Diner was hiring, according to an electric sign by Town Hall. I saw a couple of houses for sale or rent.

Though a somewhat romantic one, it’s been dream to stay in an otherwise random-to-me town and reflect back to it the beauty I see in it.

So, why don’t I do that where I live now? Not two years ago it was just such a spot, nestled unassumingly, beyond my life’s experience, in the vastness called North Dakota. Let me not, now that I’m settled, start to think that it’s any less lovely than the way I perceived Gull Lake, Saskatchewan as I passed by. I hope my trip here will help me return home with a fresh, revived spirit of wonder.


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